Nearly Eight Million People Have Been Unemployed For at Least 15 Weeks

-- lineup of people looking for work --According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 4.4 million Americans (who are wanting full-time employment) have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

This number has spiked dramatically over the past few months - hardly a surprise given that the overall unemployment rate in the country is on the rise as well. With each passing month, the competition for any available job opening continues to grow.

In May of 2009, 3.95 million people had been unemployed for at least 27 weeks - this means that over 400k people joined the ranks of the "long-term unemployed" in June.

One year ago, 1.62 million people had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more. So, in the past year, nearly three million people have found themselves unable to find a job for an extended period of time. This means that nearly 1% of the entire population of the United States (not just working civilians, but the entire population) have found themselves out of work for at least half a year.

In January of 2009, the number was 2.647 million; in March, 3.18 million.

During the height of the "dot-com" boom (April of 2000), there were only 599k people who had been out of work for at least 27 weeks. By the time that the unemployment numbers finally reach their peak, we may end up with a number that is more than 10 times the April 2000 figure.

Digging deeper into the data, we can see that 7.83 million civilians fall into the "Unemployed - 15 Weeks & Over" category.

This is up dramatically from the 2.966 million figure that was posted in June of 2008.

Now, it certainly stands to reason that the number of people who have been unemployed for at least 27 weeks would increase dramatically throughout a recession.

However, actually viewing the numbers should make a person realize just how much work lies ahead in terms of putting these people back to work. It's not going to be easy.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Civilians Unemployed for 27 Weeks and Over

Filed under: The Economic Meltdown

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